Conducting surveys showed the effectiveness of programs for the conservation of the rare raptor
Experts Far East Branch, National Park "Land of Leopard», WWF Russia and the Department of hunting supervision of Primorsky Krai summed up the one-time registration on the Amur leopard tracks in the snow. The results exceeded all expectations — 48-50 animals — a half times more than five years ago, when was the previous record.
March 15 Today in Vladivostok at the joint press conference, the Primorsky Territory Administration and the Eastern Branch (WWF) Russia presented the results of accounting leopard. The results have been very encouraging account.
— The slogan "The Amur leopard — there are only thirty" is no longer relevant, — said the researcher Pacific Institute of Geography, Head of Accounting Vladimir Aramilev. — For five years, the leopard has increased markedly.
Although fifty individuals, according to experts, it is still not enough for a sustainable population (you need at least a hundred), the trend is very encouraging.
— Accounting leopard 2013 was conducted by the traditional method based on measuring the size of the track. The use of GPS-navigators, as well as photo and video fixation should be allowed to minimize the "human factor" and the subjectivity of assessment — continued coordinator Sergei Aramilev accounting, coordinator of WWF Russia Amur branch biodiversity. — Weather conditions were not easy. On the one hand, and the deep snow made it difficult vents Sun accounting work, it was extremely difficult to survey all scheduled routes. On the other hand, the deep snow with frozen crust formed did not allow the animals to move well, they focused on local areas, and thereby reduced the likelihood of accounting one and the same individual on different routes. A loss of fresh snow after a snow crust allowed accurately capture the size encountered traces.
In addition to increasing the number of individuals of the Far Eastern leopard, accounting and brought other interesting results. Thus, the natural habitat of the predator has expanded both the south and north. For many years, the river was Krounovka for leopards northern boundary of the range. But three years ago, a lone male leopard began to leave their mark on the territory of the regional reserve "Poltava". But this winter has been found here is a female with a kitten.
Director of the Department for the protection, control and regulate the use of animals Primorye Vladimr Vasiliev relates this fact with the development of hunting in the region and increase the number of ungulates in the reserve "Poltava". Moreover, this area is not wooded, and not a traditional habitat of Amur leopards.
And this is another discovery — the leopard is developing new habitat. For example, one of the litters was found in the fieldworkers are not typical of the leopard spot: at the mouth of the great river, where there is practically no forest. Here, this winter was the high number of hare. Here, because of the deep snow in a lot of deer moved. Poachers are not even aware that there were a lot of game. So mom and kitten held by the sea calm and well-fed winter.
Another great news — the leopard was found in the southern most point of Russia — on the border with North Korea. No such cases have been observed in the last century. It is likely that the animal crosses the borders of the three countries, and looks into the forests of China, North Korea and Russia. This underlines the importance of maintaining suitable habitat for leopards in North Korea and China.
There are disturbing news — in the course of accounting in the area revealed the presence of 23 leopard species tiger, which is two times more than five years ago. It is believed that the choice of different habitats allows two competitors, predators — tiger and leopard — to maintain parity. However, the substitution of red deer and sika deer low abundance of wild boar led to the fact that food base tiger and leopard in the south-west Primorye overlap increasingly. In these circumstances, there is reason to talk about tougher competition — it is known that at least three leopards in the last ten years have been killed a tiger. Therefore, a close attention to the problem of the influence of research groups in the Amur tiger population of the Amur leopard.
The organizers would like to thank accounting soldiers to border guards who took an active part in the conduct of surveys leopard territory entrusted to them. They helped fieldworkers and appliances, and a great knowledge of the area, and security on the routes.